Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Was totally planning on making something else tonight, but Ash Wednesday changed my plans to a classic meatless dish…good old mac and cheese!

This is based on a Rachael Ray version (not sure if it’s in a book of hers…I get it at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/macaroni-and-cheddar-cheese-recipe/index.html).  It actually is a quick meal to make (there’s no chopping, so I can get it done in under 30 minutes).

I used rotini pasta (it was in my pantry) and cooked until al dente.  Meanwhile, I started by making my rue.

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter with some EVOO.
  • Add 3 tablespoons flour.
  • Whisk the flour until smooth.
  • Add 1.5 cups of milk slowly. (I used skim because it was in my fridge.  Use whole or 2% if you prefer.)
  • Whisk until thickened.
  • Add 2 cups shredded cheddar, little by little, whisking all the while.  (Rachael uses white cheddar; I used yellow.)
  • Finish the sauce with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or less to taste).

Once the sauce is done, add the pasta then transfer to a baking dish.  Cover with more cheddar (I also added a sprinkle of breadcrumbs), and place under the broiler until brown on top.

I love this meal – it is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine!  The nutmeg adds another level to the sauce, and the cayenne gives just a teeny kick.  It looks as great as it tastes!

It almost looks like hers!

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